Thursday, April 16, 2009

Nothing Less Than This

Here at Ravenseyrie, a multitude of alternative approaches to horsemanship (and life in general) present themselves on a regular basis. Partly, I think this "alternative" life is stimulated by physically dwelling in a rugged, remote wilderness area - but also it is influenced by the predilections and choices Kevin and I have incorporated into our philosophy of "beingness". Our intentions, coupled with the setting of Ravenseyrie, constitutes a symbiotic relationship which manifests itself as a continual sensory and psychological evolution shared by us and the animals, plants and elements, one and all.

This is my excuse for my habit of breaking with tradition and engaging in seemingly "risky" behavior.

Tuesday, after our evening meal, the pups and I hiked out to the northwest sector where the herd was plucking at the emerging eats in the "Scanty Field". I brought nothing with basket of brushes, no camera and no treats. (Any hiker carrying horse cookies is soon roughly mobbed by the herd, so I only feed treats in certain settings.) My intention was simply to enjoy the mellowness of the evening and bid a good evening to each equine individual.

I could see that Doll had already regarded me visually and was fixing to send out a magnetic vibration to hook me into giving her a finger currying and massage. I didn't want to be employed as a personal groom this night and refrained from making eye-contact with the draft mule and walked with quick determination on a diagonal trajectory taking me away from her...but it was too late! She'd cleverly walked with equally quick determination in such a way that an interception was imminent. Just at the point of nearly colliding, her heart magnet altered my intention and instead of stepping around and breezing right on by her, I stopped briefly and told her that if she wanted a massage that badly, I'd meet up with her at a large boulder that was some fifty feet away. I pointed it out and then turned my back to her and briskly walked to the rock and stepped up on it. Doll came straight over and positioned herself just right and invited me aboard. I slipped on to her back and began an earnest session of "mounted itches".

The sun was low and warm, and slightly blinding. The herd grazed in an aura of late day light. An idea emerged in my mind, and though I had never done such a thing with Doll before, I decided the night was magic enough that the idea should be acted upon. Using my focused intention and appropriate body positioning, I invited Doll to turn to the right and take us over to another rock some thirty feet away. You aren't the least bit surprised, are you, that Doll did exactly what I suggested? Can you imagine the sensation of this type of communication and willing participation between two disparate beings? We did several variations of this playful exercise interspersed with intense rewards of itches and massages. It was for me a much headier experience than any of my first place winnings at dressage competitions so many years ago with Mistral.

Once again, I am convinced that for myself, being with horses (or mules) should be nothing less than this.

Last evening we had an engagement in town - so rare a thing, and so filled with conflicting emotion. It was another lovely spring evening - we've waited SO long for spring warmth, I didn't want to go to town! I wanted to be out with the dogs and the horses and the birds and the rocks. Kevin agreed I had just enough time for a quick walk before changing clothes and attending the viewing of a documentary being presented by the Manitoulin Community Food Network.*

Off the pups and I went, my camera bag slung over my shoulder, my walking stick assisting me in negotiating the uneven terrain hastily, yet safely. The herd was again in the "Scanty Field" and I thought I could quickly snap a few photos and then head back to the house.

The same thing happened this night as the prior one! Doll and her heart with a camera to record how these strange communications transpire.

I walked to the rock and stood upon it. Doll came over
and positioned herself just right.
But before I committed myself to sliding aboard, I noticed that a handful of horses were interested this evening in what Doll and I were up to.
It's one thing to ride completely tackless in the big wide open when the other herd members are preoccupied--but when they are converging upon you with youthful curiosity, it seemed prudent to refrain from taking Doll up on her offer.
It was a good thing I didn't mount up, in short order, Bella feigned a nip to Doll's rump and sent her scurrying away.
Then Altamiro came over to scrutinize me.

And Animado, especially wanted to try out the feeling of getting itches with the human standing on the rock.

And what of Doll? She had walked over to where I had left my walking stick leaning on a nearby rock, and mouthed it briefly before wandering off to graze.

It was just as well - after all, with a commitment to be elsewhere, enjoying the liberty riding with Doll would take me into a timeless realm and I'd surely disappoint Kevin by not returning when promised. After taking my few photos, I hustled back to the house, just in time.

So what does "nothing less than this" mean?

I'll answer this question in detail in my next journal entry.
*Note: The link to the website of the Manitoulin Community Food Network is made possible thanks to the dogged-brillance of my sometimes geeky husband, Kevin Droski, who taught himself how to make web pages and the MCFN is his first effort. What a man!


Kris McCormack said...

What a lovely experience with Doll, Lynne! I imagine you still glowing with those feelings of unity, harmony, and the joy of being....


Lynne Gerard said...

Yes, I'm still glowing. To experience that type of unity and know without a doubt that it is a reciprocal sensation that the horse (mule) feels as well has become my benchmark of "right relations" with horses.

And, as you know, but I will say again...I have your friendship to thank for turning me on to so many evolved trainers. You might recall it was after you sent me a copy of Carolyn Resnick's book, NAKED LIBERTY that a few years ago I became first inspired to contemplate riding Mistral completely tackless in the big wide open--and how it came about because Mistral himself presented me with the opportunity by his own choosing.

I never thought to try anything other than mounted itches with the mules...but Doll showed me that though she's never had a dressage lesson in her life, she can pick up on my intention and respond to my body position with as much sensitivity as a higher bred, retired show horse.

There really is no barrier of language at all, is there, when two hearts vibrate as one?